Abundant canonical, literary, and epigraphical evidence proves women were ordained leaders in the church for centuries. Women who aspire to ordained ministry today can be encouraged by the rich history of women’s ordination.
The tradition of women raising the eucharistic cup is witnessed from the late 100s to the mid-500s, including evidence from the three oldest surviving iconographic artifacts that depict early Christians in real churches.
Catherine Kroeger, the founding president of CBE, stated, “although women had made forays into the field of biblical interpretation, it was to be Katharine Bushnell who would bring out the heavy artillery.”
This article has shown that the Gen 3:15 Edenic covenant began in the Garden with the woman. It was then initially fulfilled with Deborah and Jael in Judg 4 and 5. Indeed, the Jael story actualizes the Gen 3:15 promise.
Gretchen G. Hull was instrumental in the founding of CBE. One of CBE’s founders, as well as a board member and early pioneering editor of Priscilla Papers, Gretchen was brilliant, gutsy, and never afraid to speak out.
The church of the first five centuries helped define women’s sense of self, integrating their understanding of sexuality and marriage with the redemptive work of Christ, thus encouraging them to contribute to the work of the church.
Authors Jason Eden and Naomi Eden consider, in light of the case of Naomi's 104 year-old grandmother, a well-respected leader in her church community, how age might affect debates and controversies regarding the status of men and women within contemporary Christian circles.